There is something huge that happened and changed the world. They call it the Arab spring. Protests began 10 years ago in Tunisia and spread across the region. They brought down autocrats.
At the end of Almost 30 years of Mubarak’s regime wars started. Years of wars had devastated Syria. Libya has been in turmoil for nearly a decade. (Syria the Land of Military Exercises) Tunisia though managed to avoid all that.
Tunisia is often referred to as a success story out of all of the Arab spring countries but can we really call Tunisia a success? what did Tunisia do that other Arab countries didn’t and is the Arab spring over?
On the tenth anniversary of the Arab Spring, we look at how an activist’s desperation started it all.
It happened in Tunisia in December 2010. Mohammed Bouazizi was easy sold fruits in the streets, he was 26 years old, supporting his whole family and making hardly any money. One day the police tried to confiscate his cart they said he didn’t have a permit but was easy said the officers wanted a bribe, a policewoman even slapped him, and when he tried to complain to the local officials Muhammed was ignored, so outside a government building, he set himself on fire. Muhammed Bouazizi died a few weeks later.
Within weeks there were protests in Tunisia, As like Muhammad many people were also suffering from some of the same frustrations. The protest resulted in the stepping down of the county’s most powerful person due to the country’s most unheard guy.
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People across the Middle East and North Africa felt inspired to demand change in their countries too. And anti government protest started scaling in these regions the people were calling on these governments to be held accountable for the social injustices that they were subjected to for decades. It was a revolutionary moment on a scale that we haven’t really seen since the struggles for independence from colonial rule.
So here’s a quick recap of what happened where
In Tunisia, the president was in power for 23 years but he was kicked out after just a month of protests.
Over in Egypt, it took just 18 days to get rid of Hosni Mubarak after 30 years. Egypt then got its first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi but his government was overthrown by the military and the military is still pretty much in charge.
In Libya Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed after 42 years in power, which created a power vacuum and lead to a civil war that’s still going on.
Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh was pushed out after 33 years but since then the country’s been more divided than ever in fighting between the rebels Houties and Saudi-led military coalition has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
And then there’s Syria, it’s sort of the exception because Bashar ul Asad hasn’t gone away what started as peaceful protests there became one of the worst conflicts of our time. With Assad’s government groups including ISIS and foreign powers all fighting to control other countries.
Bahrain also had uprisings but Saudi Arabia sent troops across the border to save the monarchy.
So in most countries, the Arab Spring didn’t lead to what many protesters wanted, some would even say things went backward we’ve seen renewed authoritarianism and a level of oppression that as you know it’s even worse than it was from before the Arab spring
But let’s look at one country that appears to have got some things right as a young democracy Tunisia has a lot going for it. It got a new constitution, it’s held several elections, the media are considered free, people can protest too. Tunisia was been able to undergo a relatively peaceful political transition. the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 has been awarded to the Tunisian national dialogue quartets.
Tunisia has done something remarkable I’m talking about the Truth and Dignity Commission set up to investigate things like rights abuses and corruption under the former regime. There are more than 62000 complaints from victims some of the hearings were even televised it seeks accountability in some cases it seeks reparations, it seeks national reconciliation, so it’s an inherently controversial and political process because it really digs deep into the roots of the ugliness of authoritarian rule and oppression. little wonder then that there have been resistance politicians from the old regime are back in power and they’re accused of trying to stop the commission’s work they even passed a law that grants amnesty to officials accused of corruption during Ben Ali‘s time.
There have also been security problems. Fighters have been crossing over from Libya and civilians have been attacked The economy has struggled to international lenders like the IMF offered bailout, mass demonstrations even the nationwide strike. People haven’t been able to buy the basics items.
It’s tough to label Tunisia a success but it’s also hard to ignore that it’s done better than the others. 10 years is not a long time to transform the country let alone the whole region. And in the last couple of years there have been more protests in places like Sudan, Algeria, and Lebanon. The fear barriers that were broken 10 years ago has emboldened so many to continue to call out their governments. The Arab spring is in many ways not over it’s just started. Tunisia is far from a perfect example but people there do have the freedom to elect, Who leads them to demand change? to be heard? that’s what Mohammed Bouazizi wanted to be heard, it’s what millions of people wanted, they rose up 10 years ago. For more exciting stuff please subscribe our Facebook Page